Friday, March 1, 2013

Quick and Simple On-the-Go Breakfast Options for Disorganized Mamas!

quick easy healthy on-the-go travel food

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I'm not exactly known for my time-management skills... Just ask Little Z's bus driver and Little Gym teachers! They're visibly shocked when we arrive on time or even early (that one time...) Z and I are both night owls, and slow to get going in the mornings. But now that I have to have her fed, dressed, and out the door before 9am, we've had to change our habits some.

It takes Little Z some time to even be ready to start eating after waking up, which is a luxury we no longer have. She usually sleeps until 8 or 8:15, which gives us a very narrow window. She doesn't have her usual 30-minutes to sit there like a zombie as she's waking up. And it's like pulling teeth to get her moving. So I've had to be a bit creative with breakfast options.

Plus with trying to get the girls fed and ready, there's no time for Mama to eat! I have to grab something I can quickly gulp down in the car at stoplights!

Mama On-the-Go
My bag - clearly my life is orderly and well-planned! Ha!
My usual grab-and-go breakfasts are chewy bars or yogurt. Since the girls and I are currently trying a gluten-free diet (long story - blah blah stomach stuff, blah blah potty issues, etc etc) all my chewy bars had to hit the road. So yogurt it is!
I prefer Greek yogurt for several reasons. It's supposedly healthier than regular yogurt, with more protein and vitamins. Plus it's apparently lactose free (or 98% free - good enough for me!) But most importantly, I prefer the thicker texture; less drippy when trying to feed a baby, less drippy when trying to eat in the car while driving stopped in traffic, and less drippy wherever the 4-year-old happens to be eating it!

I love shopping at Safeway over the other grocery stores near us because they not only have a better selection of the types of foods I buy (like yogurt,) but also a ton of organic (and therefore dye-free and non-GMO) produce and packaged items. And I can find free-range eggs in a pinch, if I can't wait until my next trip to the farm. Plus now I'm discovering their wonderful selection of gluten-free items!

And they have better sales and coupons than the specialty stores!

The Dannon OIKOS Greek yogurt single-serve containers are on sale this week at Safeway at 10/$10, so I decided to give them a try! None of them contain artificial petrol-derived ingredients, so they are safe for my whole family! As an added bonus, there were three cups left of Vanilla flavor that had 50% off stickers due to a short expiration date! Scooooore! These stickers usually stack with a sale price (and manufacturer coupons, if you have any,) so are a fantastic value! As long as you can go through it fairly quickly! Um, no problem!
I usually buy large tubs and dole out my own single-servings, but the flavors are pretty limited. There is usually a wide assortment of unique flavors in the single serves. And sometimes I just need to be able to grab a cup and run out the door. So I try and keep some of each on hand.

I've got to say the vanilla was a big hit. Everyone agreed how tasty it was. Sadly, I won't be buying Dannon's OIKOS again. The tubs they use are #6 plastic, which, while deemed "safe" by the FDA (who is totally looking out for our welfare *eyeroll*) also happen to emit carcinogenic chemicals. Oh goody.
I was disappointed, but not as upset as when I discovered that Gerber's microwave meals for babies and toddlers use plastic #7. You know. The one that releases BPA! (!!!)

[Here's how I remember the truly food-safe plastics - "Four, five, one, two - all the rest are bad for you!"]

On the plus side, I discovered that there's also an organic Stonyfield OIKOS assortment. It has been very hard finding organic Greek yogurt at all, much less flavors other than "Plain." (Thanks to dairy farmers feeding their cows dye-filled junk, I try and avoid non-organic dairy products, as I've heard that the dyes can transfer through the milk. And there's no way to know which farms do it and which products use milk from those farms.) And Stonyfield uses plastic #5, which is pretty much the safest one there is to use for food. Did I mention they were on sale too? In fact, most of Safeway's yogurt selection was on sale. It was hard to resist, but I only have so much room in my fridge, and we can only eat so much yogurt per day! (I did break down and buy some Trix yogurt as a treat for my girlie. She's been asking for "that rainbow yogurt with the rabbit onnit," and since they use natural colors and flavors, I like to support them. And there's an extra coupon in the Safeway flyer, plus you can often find manufacturer coupon peelies stuck right on the packages.)

Since I'm tethered to my car all day, I can just grab a yogurt and a spoon, and then bring it back inside when we get home to toss the spoon in the sink and rinse out the cup for recycling. My husband, however, rides the train to work, and doesn't want to be dragging around a cup with yogurt residue all day. Plus he can't be trusted to bring spoons home. Or pens. Or nail clippers...

Dadda On-the-Go
Safeway has a large variety of breakfast items on sale with a big Buy 4 Save $4 promotion, in preparation for National Breakfast Week (March 4-8.) A ton of cereals, chewy bars, juice, and more! Since all the Kellogg's and General Mills cereals either contain artificial ingredients or gluten, they were a no-go for us.

Packing cereal to-go kind of poses the same problems for Hubby as a yogurt would, so he does better with dry items, like chewy bars or Pop Tarts. 
Every flavor of Pop Tarts either has artificial colors (and flavors,) or  for the few that don't, a petrol-derived artificial preservative (BHT, BHA, or TBHQ.) So I got him a box of the Apple Cinnamon Nutri-Grain bars. It's the only variety without artificial colors or preservatives. There are still artificial flavors, so these aren't something I'd normally buy. But since you can't ever tell which artificial flavors contain petrol-derived ingredients, and he'd be eating them away from home, I made an exception! 
The Nutri-Grain bars are regularly $3.99 per box, and with a sale price of $2.99, plus a promotional price of $1.99 if you buy 4 participating products, that's quite a deal! And you can usually find manufacturer coupons floating about - either in a weekly mailer, the Sunday paper, printed on the box of other Kellogg's products, or printable online - for even bigger savings!

I didn't really have any coupons (I either have time to find, save, and clip coupons or shop - not both!) But with the OIKOS on sale at 10/$10 and Rise and Shine With Savings Buy 4 Save $4 promotion, I still managed to save a fair chunk off my total purchase!

Kiddo On-the-Go
I've been loving these reusable food pouches that are coming out. They're great for making your own squeezy fruit pouches to send in lunches or as a snack instead of those disposable ones. Or kid-friendly smoothie pouches. 
But the easiest for me (and therefore my favorite use) is to make pouches of slorpable yogurt! 
Easy to fill with a spoon or funnel (the Greek yogurts are thick - they need a spoon!)
There are several reusable pouch brands I've found online, and they come in an assortment of sizes, but the two brands I have are Little Green Pouch and Squishy Snak Pak. I like the former as it holds a bit more, and the latter because it has a window, so I can see what's inside. Because sometimes I forget!
The big tubs of yogurt are great for these, but if I have time and plan on offering one of the single-serve flavors anyway, I like to fill the pouch so I can wash and recycle the container, rather than see it get tossed once she gets to school. Or worse yet, find it in her backpack a few days later... (If you happen to find a pouch later, the lid keeps it from getting too nasty inside, and they're still easy to clean with a bottle brush and the top rack of the dishwasher! Not that I would know...)
It's also an easier (and less messy) way for Baby to feed herself in the car on the way to our morning activities. Because sometimes it's a matter of Mama getting a shower or Baby getting breakfast before we leave, and I can't exactly shower in the car!

Plus when I use up smaller containers, I get to lick up the leftovers! Hey, I'm a mom. My 5 major food groups are: kiddie leftovers, kiddie rejects, crumbs from the bottom of a box (or in this case, yogurt,) no-longer-warm food, and previously licked or chewed items shoved into my mouth by the baby. And then there's the "binge on junk food because I'm starving and too tired to make something" food group. So trust me. Licking out a yogurt cup is like fine dining!
These pouches are great in general for muss-free yogurt eating, as well as an easy way to take yogurt to-go. No messy spoon ooking up the inside of a lunch bag or backpack. The cap goes back on and seals off any leftovers. Easy! If you're a planner (ie: not me) you can pack up a week's worth at a time for your family, and store in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go meal or snack. Or store some in the freezer to use as ice packs in lunches - they thaw by lunch time!

But I mostly use them for an "Oh crap! We need to get to the bus stop! Why didn't you eat your cereal? Argh! Okay here, eat this on the way!" breakfast option. That's how we roll.

Check out my whole Safeway shopping trip experience (with cute Baby photos!) and gain a little peek into my random and unorganized shopping process, and a little about what I look for and why I buy (or don't buy) certain products.

See Safeway's Rise and Shine With Savings for more of the Buy 4 Save $4 and other breakfast item deals! And be sure to visit Kellogg's Share Breakfast page - for every share via the social media links provided there, they'll donate one breakfast to a child in need!

I am a member of the Collective Bias (R) Social Fabric (R) Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias (R) and Safeway. All opinions are my own.


  1. Great article! What the name of the petrol-derived preservative?

    1. There are 3: BHT, BHA, and TBHQ. Vitamin E (aka Mixed Tocopherols or something like that) works just as well, but companies opt not to use it. Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios use Vitamin E. Rice Krispies (and the grocery store generics) do not.

  2. I love those little pouches - what a brilliant idea!

  3. I love the idea of using squeeze packs for Greek yogurt!


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